"Postabortion Depression": Clarification from the APA

October 1, 2007

Although the Washington Report used the term "postabortion depression," this is a term to which the APA objected. There is no credible scientific evidence for such a diagnostic category or for a causal relationship between abortion and mental illness.

The Washington Report in the July issue of Psychiatric Times ("Postpartum Depression Bill Likely to Move Forward", Psychiatric Times, July 2007) described the Melanie Blocker-Stokes Postpartum Depression Research and Care Act (HR 20), which was introduced by Rep Bobby Rush (D, Ill). I testified in support of this important bill at the committee hearing on behalf of the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

Although the Washington Report used the term "postabortion depression," this is a term to which the APA objected. There is no credible scientific evidence for such a diagnostic category or for a causal relationship between abortion and mental illness. Potential diagnostic terms must be considered by psychiatric experts and not invented by Congress. Catherine Roca, MD, chief of women's programs at NIMH, said at the hearing that NIMH has all the potential interactions between female hormones, hormone changes, and mood on its research agenda. She did not endorse this invented term.